Charities & Campaign Groups

Three-quarters say public should be consulted before public services are outsourced – Survation for We Own It

New polling, by Survation for We Own It, showed that nearly three-quarters (73%) of people think that the public should be consulted by national or local government about the privatisation or outsourcing of public services. Only 15% believe that the public should not be consulted on such matters and the remainder (12%) didn’t know. Survation interviewed 2,017 UK adults aged 18+ online on behalf of We Own It between 9th – 11th November 2015.


The poll also showed that over two-thirds (67%) of people think that the public should be able to see the contract agreed between the government and the private company running a public service, as well as data about the company’s performance, in order to effectively hold these companies to account. Less than a quarter (23%) believe that the public should not be given access to this information as it needs to be commercially confidential, while one in ten (10%) didn’t know.


Further, more than three in five (61%) people think that local or national government should be given the opportunity to try and run new public services first, and it should only be contracted out for private tender if it’s found that the service is too expensive or of poor quality when it’s run publicly. Only one in five (21%) believe the opposite, that new public services should be contracted out first and only be ran publicly if it’s found that the service is too expensive or of poor quality when run privately, while a similar proportion (18%) said that they didn’t know.


Elsewhere in the poll, respondents were asked whether they had heard of two companies commonly associated with running public services; Serco and Capita. Only around half of the public had heard of the companies, and of those, only 5% and 7% expressed ‘complete trust’ in these two companies, respectively. However, whilst Serco’s net trust score languished at -17, Capita’s stood at a respectable +1. For both companies, over a quarter of people said that they didn’t know how much they trusted or distrusted them.


Full tables are available here.

To find out more about Survation’s services, and how you can conduct a telephone or online poll for your research needs, please visit our services page.

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